Current Affairs of 23 February 2016

1. Indian-origin art lover Ismail Mahomed conferred knighthood by French government
1. An Indian-origin art lover and playwright Ismail Mahomed from South Africa has been knighted by the French government for his lifelong devotion to the promotion of arts. He was bestowed with Knight of the Order of Arts and Literature (The Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres) by French Ambassador Elisabet Barbier in Johannesburg.
2. Presently, Ismail Mahomed is working as the Artistic Director of the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. He has a long standing relationship with France and has brokered several collaborations between French and South Africa artists.

2. India remains world’s largest arms importer
1. India continues to remain the world’s largest arms importer, accounting for 14% of the global arms imports in the 2011-2015 timeframe. It was revealed by report on international arms transfers released by a global think-tank, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
2. Top arms importers are: India (14%), China (4.7%), Australia (3.6%), Pakistan (3.3%), Vietnam (2.9%) and South Korea (2.6%).

3. Haryana set to become first state to complete Aquifer mapping
1. Haryana is set become the first state in the country to complete aquifer mapping for its groundwater resources by May 2016. Aquifer is an underground layer of water-bearing rock from which groundwater can be extracted.
2. Aquifer mapping is scientific mapping of aquifers to asses the groundwater situation.
3. In the first phase (to be completed by 2017), 8 states have been selected for this kind of scientific mapping where groundwater situation has already reached a critical level. These states are Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Telangana.

4. Indian-origin Amar Singh appointed as Police Commissioner of Kuala Lumpur
1. An Indian-origin Sikh Amar Singh has been appointed the Police Commissioner of Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur. With this, he becomes first person of Indian origin (PIO) and first Malaysian Sikh to achieve the highest police rank in the Muslim-majority country. Prior to this appointment, he was serving as deputy director of CID.
2.  He will succeed Tajuddin Mohamed who has been transferred to federal headquarters as the Deputy Director of commercial CID.

5. Udai Kumar appointed as full-time MD and CEO of MSEI
1. Udai Kumar has been appointed as full-time Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Metropolitan Stock Exchange of India (MSEI) Ltd. His appointment was approved by SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) and comes after stringent shortlisting process and interviews by the Selection Committee. 
2. Prior to this appointment, he was given an interim charge after then MD and CEO Saurabh Sarkar had resigned. Udai Kumar is a veteran of the capital and financial markets. He has over two decades of rich experience in stock exchange administration, fund-raising, capital markets, restructuring and merger and acquisition functions.

6. KN Vyas appointed as Director of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre
1. Distinguished scientist KN Vyas has been appointed as Director of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) for a term of three years His appointment was confirmed by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) presided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. 
2. He succeeds Shekar Basu who was appointed as Atomic Energy Secretary and Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) in October 2015.

7. Pakistan Parliament becomes first in world to run on solar power
1. Pakistan Parliament today became the first in the world to completely run on solar power, a venture supported by China with USD 55 million funding.
2. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a simple ceremony switched on solar-powered building of the Parliament in capital Islamabad.
3. First announced in 2014, the venture has been funded by the Chinese government as an act of friendship, with the solar power plant costing around USD 55 million.This the first time since independence (1947) that parliament has become self-sufficient in electricity through solar power. 

8. Google is shutting down Google Compare
1. Google is shuttering Google Compare, its US comparison-shopping site for auto insurance, credit cards and mortgages after one year.
2. The quick reversal is a setback to the Alphabet unit's efforts to use its enormous reach to provide consumers with niche shopping services and financial-services tools.

9. Vienna is world’s best city to live in: survey
 1. Austria’s capital Vienna is the best place in the world to live, according to an international survey on quality of life that has no Indian city in the top 100.
2. According to the 18th Mercer Quality of Life study which examined socioeconomic conditions of 230 global cities, Vienna, a city of nearly 1.8 million people, is the world’s best city, followed by Zurich, Auckland, Munich and Vancouver.
3. While famous cities like London, Paris and New York failed to make a cut even in the top 30s, Baghdad was named as the worst city in the world.
4. Among Indian cities, Hyderabad topped the rankings at 139th position, followed by Pune at 144, Bangalore 145, Chennai 150, Mumbai 152, Kolkata 160 and national capital Delhi at 161.
5. According to the World Bank, Austria has one of the highest figures for GDP per head in the world, just behind the US and ahead of Germany and Britain

10. Jet Airways appoints Rahul Taneja as Chief People Officer 

1. India's second largest airline Jet Airways has roped in Rahul Taneja from Essar Group to take over as Jet's Chief People Officer.
2. Taneja will be responsible for shaping the operations and performance of the group. He will join the Executive Management Committee that has been tasked by the Board of Directors to drive the company’s growth and future strategy.

11. RBI extends swap arrangement with SAARC nations

1. In order to enhance economic cooperation and strengthen financial stability, RBI has extended the $2 billion currency swap arrangement to SAARC nations till mid-November 2017.
2. The Reserve Bank said in a notification on Tuesday that it has decided to extend the SAARC Currency Swap Arrangement till November 14, 2017.
3. Under the arrangement, RBI is to offer swap arrangement up to an overall amount of $2 billion both in foreign currency and Indian rupee.
4. The SAARC Swap Arrangement was offered by the RBI to SAARC nations on November 15, 2012.The facility will be available to all SAARC member countries — Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
5. The swap amount available to various member central banks has been arrived at broadly based on two months import cover subject to a floor of $100 million and a maximum of $400 million per country.

Follow us on